In Brief: Chris Klug Foundation has new leader, El Polmar donates to high country groups |

In Brief: Chris Klug Foundation has new leader, El Polmar donates to high country groups

Staff report

El Polmar gives to High Country groups

El Pomar trustees approved $37,500 allocated to nine nonprofit organizations and government entities in the High Country region. Through the foundation, the following organizations were awarded grants:

• A Way Out, Inc. (Aspen) — $5,000 for addiction recovery engagement program; competitive
• Aspen Community Foundation (Basalt) — $2,500 for Cradle to Career Initiative; Trustee regional merit
• Clear Creek County Advocates (Georgetown) — $5,000 in general operating support; regional merit
• Foresight Ski Guides, Inc. (Vail) — $7,500 for summer and winter programs for visually impaired; Hybl Fund
• High Five Access Media (Avon) — $2,500 in general operating support; regional merit
• Lake County School District R-1 (Leadville) — $2,500 for Project Dream; Trustee regional merit
• Loaves & Fishes (Idaho Springs) — $2,500 in general operating support; competitive
• St. George Episcopal Church (Leadville) — $5,000 for community meals and food pantry; regional merit
• Summit County Family Resource Center (Silverthorne) — $5,000 for Sol Center at Alta Verde; regional merit

Founded by Spencer and Julie Penrose in 1937, El Pomar Foundation has an established legacy of general-purpose grant making. The competitive process remains the foundation’s primary vehicle for organizations to receive funding. Additionally, over the last 80 years, El Pomar has either developed or been entrusted with the stewardship of a number of other funds, as well as presenting merit grants in each region recommended by Trustees and regional council members. Competitive applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The High Country Regional Council recommends grants in Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake, Pitkin and Summit Counties. Council members are regional leaders in the business, nonprofit and public sectors.

Carbondale ditch season ending soon

The town of Carbondale’s ditch system will be turned off in the morning on Friday, Oct. 14, for the winter season. Officials ask users to disconnect their irrigation pumps and winterize them before that date. 

For more information, contact Utilities Director Mark O’Meara at 970-510-1351 or

New leader for Chris Klug Foundation

The Chris Klug Foundation has of their new executive director, Jessi Rochel, who takes over for Cecille Cunningham.

Rochel was born in rural southwest Minnesota and moved to Carbondale in 1990, where she completed grades K through 12. She graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from Colorado State University and then returned to Carbondale, where she worked for the town of Carbondale Parks and Recreation Department for 14 years. 

She has been a registered organ donor since her teens and said one of her favorite things to do is to donate blood. Organ and tissue donation is something quite literally close to her heart, as her father received a life-saving heart transplant in 2015, she said. 

“We are so thrilled to have Jessi joining the CKF team, and we are looking forward to seeing where this new chapter takes our small, but mighty, non-profit,” said founder Chris Klug. “It is an exciting new time in the world of CKF as they continue to promote organ, eye and tissue donation to those across the country.”

Rochel will be kicking off her new role with one of the biggest events in Aspen’s calendar and the kick-off to winter: Summit for Life on Dec. 3. Registration is now open for the annual fundraiser. For more information, visit

Eagle County closes offices Monday

Eagle County offices, including the El Jebel satellite office, will be closed on Monday, Oct. 10. 

CMC continues strategic planning for 2030

The Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustee is updating its strategic plan from 2023 to 2030, working with Point b(e) Strategies, a Colorado-based firm, to seek input about the college’s aspirations, priorities and goals for the next seven years.

This fall, the college is engaging with numerous stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, employers, local governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations and residents of the CMC region to gather input. CMC expects to adopt its new strategic plan by June 2023.